What is Botulinum Toxin?
Botulinum Toxin is a truly remarkable treatment. It is a chemical produced by the Botulinum bacteria. Botox® is a protein derivative of the toxin, which, when injected into the muscle, causes it to become weakened or inactivated. It stops the muscle from functioning by blocking neuromuscular transmission - i.e. it stops the chemical messages from the nerve to the muscle.
How does it work?
As facial muscles are used repeatedly, over time the skin is creased in areas of greatest use. The aging process causes the slow down of collagen and elastin production in the skin so that as we get older the areas of over-use become damaged and the lines become permanent.
By reducing the movement of muscles in these areas, the skin stops being creased and is allowed to recover, causing the lines to soften or even fade away. In the areas treated, the muscles are temporarily inactivated (always reversible), during which time the patient can break the subconscious habit of overusing these muscles. Depending on each individual and the dose used, the response to the treatment can vary from a relaxation of the muscles to an inability to move the muscles.
After Botox® treatment, normal activities can be resumed straight away, with the exception of exercise, lying down, or touching the treated areas, all for about 4 hours, after which you may continue with all normal activities.
For the first couple of years, frequent treatments (three monthly) are required to 're-educate' the facial muscles. Thereafter, treatments are less frequent until a yearly maintenance treatment is normally all that is required.
How long has Botox been in use?
As long ago as 1978, Botox® was used as a treatment for patients with eye squints by weakening the overactive eye muscle. Since then, in addition to its very popular use in medical cosmetics treatments, Botox® has been used in a variety of therapeutic areas such as spasmodic neck, writer's cramp, tics, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, and cerebral palsy. It has been used cosmetically for more than 15 years and one full treatment dose is now considered as safe as a quarter of an aspirin!
Dermal fillers are used to fill out lines and wrinkles, for example nose to mouth lines (nasolabial) and deep forehead lines. They are also used to accentuate the contours of lips.
As an example, one of the most commonly used fillers is Juvederm. Juvederm is a natural substance, hyaluronic acid, and is present naturally in the skin. The product used in the treatments is not from a human or animal source.
Juvederm works immediate wonders on deep lines and wrinkles without looking fake or obvious. Juvederm is injected into the area being treated, with a very fine needle. It's a quick procedure and topical numbing cream is applied to make it a more comfortable experience. Some patients have Juvederm injected in the lips to make them fuller or just on the lip borders to help stop the annoying "lipstick bleeding." Juvederm will last approximately 6 months and in some people up to a year depending on the amount of product used and how many previous treatments have been taken.
All procedures are carried out by Dr Samir Moghanchi, lead clinician at Facial Aesthetics Practice at Battersea.